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Christ Is Stronger than the Strong Man

Christ Is Stronger than the Strong Man

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Published by: Grace Church Modesto on Nov 15, 2009
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02/01/2013

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\u201cChrist Is Stronger than the Strong Man\u201d
or \u201cWhat Is the Devil\u2019s Situation During the Gospel Dispensation?\u201d
(Matthew 12:22-29)

Introduction: Today there are many questions in the minds of many Christians with regard to the kingdom of God and the relationship which the devil now has or will have with it. There are those who believe that the kingdom of God is entirely future and that it is exclusively for the Jews, although some Gentiles will also participate in it. There are others who believe that the kingdom of God exist now, at least in some spiritual form, but its full consummation still awaits the Tribulation period and the conversion of Israel. There are still others who believe that the kingdom exists even now and will one day come in its full consummate glory at the second coming of our Lord.

Along with this question also comes the question about the binding of the devil in
relation to the coming of the kingdom. Is Satan still continuing to exercise the same
dominion now over the earth that he has in the past, and will he continue to do so until the
Jewish kingdom comes in the future? Will he continue with no further hindrance to his
control and power until a future glorious era for the church while on earth? Or is he even
now bound? These are two questions which I believe our passage addresses this evening.
And what I believe it teaches us is that

The kingdom has indeed come and the devil has indeed been bound.
I. First, I Want Us to Look at the Situation into which Christ Makes His Very
Important Declarations.

A. Matthew writes, \u201cThen there was brought to Him a demon-possessed man who was
blind and dumb, and He healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw.\u201d
1. This event was still during the time of Christ\u2019s great popularity. The Pharisees may

have hated Jesus, but the people did not.

2. There were those who believed that He could heal, and because He could, they
brought to Him a man who was demon-possessed.
a. We don\u2019t know how these people knew that this man\u2019s blindness and dumbness

were due to demon-possession, but the fact is that it was.

b. There seems to have been a high degree of demonic possession at the time of Christ. He had many opportunities like this one in which to demonstrate His power over the demons.

c. Matthew records, \u201cAnd when evening had come, they brought to Him many who
were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all
who were ill\u201d (8:16).

d. Matthew also tells us of two men who were demon-possessed in the country of
the Gadarenes (8:28), a dumb man who was made so because of
demon-possession (9:32-33), and a Canaanite woman who had a daughter who
was \u201ccruelly demon-possessed\u201d (15:22), all of whom Jesus delivered.

e. We might ask ourselves why it was that this was the case in Israel, among God\u2019s
covenant people. After all, they were the church of God.
f. The first thing we need to realize is what we saw this morning. Being a member
2

of a church does not necessarily mean that a person is converted. And if a person
is not converted, there is no reason why demons may not inhabit him as well as
any unbeliever.

g. The Jews almost uniform rejection of the Messiah indicates that there were many
who were yet unconverted. This demon-possession, therefore, could have been
God\u2019s hand of judgment against them, for He is the One who sovereignly grants
life, and He is the One who sovereignly protects against the power of the wicked
one.

h. But why so many at the time of Christ in particular? Jonathan Edwards believed
that God allowed the background of Christ\u2019s coming to be all the darker that the
light of His glory might shine all the brighter.

i. We must not forget that the devil and all of his demons are always in the
sovereign control of God. He allows them to do what they do. And when He
does, we know from Scripture that it is always for a good purpose. Perhaps God
allowed their influence to be far more extensive at this particular time so that He
might glorify His Son. How could Jesus reveal God\u2019s power over sickness,
unless their were some who were sick? Isn\u2019t this what Jesus said was the
purpose of the man who was born blind (John 9:3)? And how could He
demonstrate His power over the devil, unless there were those present who were
bound by him?

j. God arranged the situation as He did to make the presence of His Son to be felt
all the more. And this is evident when we see the reaction of the people.
B. Matthew writes, \u201cAnd all the multitudes were amazed, andbegan to say, \u2018Thisman
cannot be the Son of David, can he?\u2019\u201d

1. Christ\u2019s miracles showed forth the glory of God. Unlike the miracles of today,
they always had this effect on people.
a. They were amazed. They were astonished and filled with awe and fear.
b. This is why Christ and His apostles performed miracles in the first place. They

were supposed to stop traffic and cause all who were present to \u2018feel\u2019 the presence
of God. This was God\u2019s divine affirmation that this was His messenger.

c. The so-called miracles of the faith-healers today, for the most part, cannot claim this. They cannot be seen, but only felt by the people who experience them. If miracles of this nature had been done by Christ and the apostles, then everyone might very well question whether or not they were actually of God, even as many today do.

2. But these miracles had their intended impact on this crowd. They said, \u201cThisman
cannot be the Son of David, can he?\u201d
a. The language here assumes that they are expecting a negative answer to the

question, though they are not really sure.

b. They were probably in the position of the crowd at the Feast of Booths, who said,
\u201cWhen the Christ shall come, He will not perform more signs than those which
this man has, will He?\u201d (John 7:31).

c. They wanted to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, but there was yet that strong
opposition to Him by the leaders of the religious community.
3

C. And so we read, \u201cBut when the Pharisees heard it, they said, \u2018This man casts out
demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.\u2019\u201d
1. The Pharisees did not want to acknowledge that Jesus was the Christ. Their hearts

were hardened. Their eyes were blind. They showed themselves to be under God\u2019s
righteous judgment.

a. The Lord said to Isaiah, when He commissioned him, \u201c\u2018Go, and tell this people:
\u201cKeep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking, but do not understand.\u201d
Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, lest
they see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and
return and be healed.\u201d Then I said, \u2018Lord, how long?\u2019 And He answered, \u2018Until
cities are devastatedand without inhabitant, houses are without people, and the
land is utterly desolate, the LORD has removed men far away, and the forsaken
places are many in the midst of the land\u2019\u201d (Isa. 6:9-12).

b. This is God\u2019s judgment on a people for their rejection of Him. Christ quoted
this passage when the disciples asked Him why He spoke to the people in
parables. The apostle Paul quoted it when many of the Jews in Rome did not
believe. It is God\u2019s judgment on this people.

c. Their eyes were blinded because they would not believe the truth.
2. And so as they see Christ working a miracle which they could not deny, they accuse
Him of doing so by the power of the devil.

a. And this is a very serious crime. Notice that Christ in the following verses does
not indict them for speaking against Him, but against the Spirit of God, for, as I
have said on earlier occasions, it was by the Spirit of God that Christ performed
His works and miracles on earth. He was anointed with the Spirit of God above
measure!

b. Whenever someone is so wickedly blinded so as to attribute to the Spirit of God
the work of the malignant one, that is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, that sin
which does not have forgiveness. It is the sin unto death, the sin which causes
God to once and for all give one over to a reprobate mind, with no hope of
salvation. When one commits it, we are no longer to pray for them.

c. How blind some people can be, who, when they think they are offering service to
God, are actually offering service to the prince of the demons!

d. But be thankful that it is a sin which no Christian can ever commit. If you are a
Christian here this evening, you need never fear falling into this hardness of heart,
by the grace of God. But all who are outside of Christ must fear, lest they
forever close the doors of salvation against themselves by committing this
soul-damning sin.

II. And This Brings Us, Secondly, to Christ\u2019s Response, in which He Tells Us Plainly
that the Kingdom Has Come and that Satan Has Been Bound.

A. First, He points out the very obvious fact in defense against the Jews, \u201cAny kingdom
divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself shall not
stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his
kingdom stand?\u201d
1. It is a matter of common experience that any kingdom, city, or even house, which

turns on itself, shall not be able to stand.

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